Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Featured Article – Visualizing Social Network Data

IEEE Computer Society Team
Published 05/02/2022
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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022From 1 – 31 May 2022, people around the United States will observe Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time designated to honor and understand the diverse heritage of Asian Pacific Americans. It began as a 7-day observation in 1979 and developed into a month-long event when Congress passed Public Law 102-450 in 1992. One of the benefits of Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month is it gives those in the Asian-American community and others a chance to reflect on how they adopt and adapt to the American social fabric. Quantifying and analyzing how this happens has involved an ongoing effort.



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Rising to this challenge, Roberto Palmieri and Carlo Giglio, both of the Department of Mechanical, Energy & Management Engineering at the University of Calabria in Rende, Italy, have identified visualization tools that make it easier to analyze how Asian-American students interact with their social environments. The tools used to visualize social network data can make a big difference, particularly because they can help—or hinder—the effective presentation of important findings and concepts.


How the Visualization Process Is Designed

The visualization of data consists of six primary steps. These include:

  1. Mapping
  2. Selection
  3. Presentation
  4. Interactivity
  5. Usability
  6. Evaluation

To execute all six steps, you need to leverage the right tools—while keeping in mind what will provide the most accurate and relevant results.


Tools for Visualizing Social Network Data

Instead of depending on proprietary visualization tools, researchers can rely on freely available, open-source resources for social network activity analysis. For example, the app NetVizz v1.2 can be used to obtain page data from within Facebook. This can then be studied to discover how different groups of Asian Pacific American students are interacting among themselves.

To see what the study discovered, continue reading “Visualizing Social Network Data: a comparative study of Asian-American student conferences,” by authors Roberto Palmieri and Carlo Giglio.